Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The First Day Of Spring

On the official first day of Spring found myself fishing a small stream where the landscape looked more like Winter. I started my day about 10, with the sun out in force the air temps warmed up beautifully. As I walked to the stream I felt there was a new beginning coming to the woods and waters. The birds were very vocal, the trees that were dormant and had leaves still hanging on from last fall were tossing them aside preparing for the buds of a new season. The stream was open but the blanket of snow draped the edges, and caution was needed when walking close.

Several trees that fell across the stream were covered with small animal tracks, natural bridges that they no doubt prefer to use rather than the alternative. Fishing in winter can be beautiful, but it can be frustrating. March has never been a banner month for me, most times the fish are not cooperative. It's funny one day you will take trout from a particular run, and the next 3 times fishing the same place and it will be like your on a different planet.

After a couple of hours I walked upon this slow silent pool. Looking at it I thought of "wow that would make a lovely Christmas card"...I tossed out my offering and let the stream do the rest.

The response came very swiftly..I was greeted by a hard take. This fish was strong, mad and a bit surprised that the insect she bit, bit her back. A few little runs and she soon gave up. I placed my hand under the brown and lifted it to admire. Placed back in the stream and she was a memory of this day.

Winter has been hard on this stream, numerous blow downs have taken away some fine pools....but it has also created some very interesting new hide-a-ways....soon to be explored.

Monday, March 20, 2017

"Life Is Great"

Yesterday we celebrated St. Patrick's Day with the traditional corned...... and cabbage. Pardon me everything was traditional except for the meat. In place of beef, venison was used. Several pieces of odd pieces of deer were corned by me using a great recipe for the brine. The meat was placed in the brine about 7 day's ago, and was cured to perfection. The deer was placed in a large pot with various seasoning vegetables, then brought to a boil and reduced to a simmer. It slow simmered for 3 hours, and the other vegetables were added. It was allowed to simmer until the vegetables were cooked.

A cooked piece of shoulder, just perfect.

The first few slices held intact, but the rest sort of broke apart.

We enjoyed the meal, Jeanette said that I should corn the whole deer...she thinks it's the best way to eat venison. Today I have a few slices left and I will fry them with potatoes for breakfast.

Pastrami, anyone.....perhaps next year.

Friday, March 17, 2017

That Crazy Fly

Happy St. Patrick's Day. I hope you are enjoying you Irish Bangers for breakfast with some lovely fried potatoes...and may your corned beef dinner be the best.

This is a post about a crazy fly and the day's of last April fishing it. I hope you'll enjoy the change in scenery, Spring as opposed to Winter which is getting very old.

I may attempt to get out on the water today and perhaps manage to bring one of these to hand...using that crazy fly.

My corned venison is about a day away from being fully cured. I'm slated to enjoy it on Sunday...stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

"In A Different Light"

Do fish see colors? That's a question I've heard talked about since the day I tied on a fly over 30 years ago. My answer has been no, but the argument can be made that it's yes simply because if the fly your fishing is dark and what's on the water is light chances are your dark fly will be rejected. Now I grant you this is a very simple explanation, and there are so many other things at play that will cause a fly to be rejected.

Below I have tested a few soft-hackles and spiders in a glass of water to try and simulate what a fly looks like in it's emerging stage. I've used various patterns, all different accept for the first two. This little experiment shows some pretty big differences in how a trout looks at a fly.

The first two flies are partridge and orange patterns, the same exact fly. You can see the orange silk body showing through the very sparse dubbed body. Also visible are the tiny air bubbles trapped in the dubbing and along the hackle fibers.

This is the exact fly as the first. Notice when photographed in a different light the fly looks totally different, especially the color. The trapped air bubbles are more pronounced and the body color takes on a different light.

This is a partridge and orange tied without any dubbing. This fly has a slight-sparse thorax and partridge hackle. The trapped air bubble is highly visible.

You can also see a very distinct rib in the body. This is accomplished by winding just the silk thread. It is not clear in the photo but those ribs in the thread catch light an act as another attraction.

In this last photo the fly has a fully dubbed body, it is slightly tapered and has a gold tinsel rib. Naturally the tinsel rib will draw attention but the key is the almost perfect ribbing in the body showing an insects natural segmented body.

A key to all of these flies is the's alive.

Monday, March 13, 2017

In The Land Of Zane Grey, Rivers, and Flies

Back in the mid eighties I started hunting in the state of Pennsylvania. We primarily hunted deer but the license came with a spring turkey tag which allowed us to hunt wild turkey's. The spring season pretty much encompassed the month of May which is about as good as it can be, I mean cool mornings, which is the time of legal hunting, have to be out of the woods by 1PM, and the afternoons and evening were for the most part very comfortable. So I'm in Pennsylvania with a free afternoon-evening and nothing to do. The light came on and soon a fishing license was purchased and that opened up something to fill said time.

There was a wonderful river that flowed close to the game land I hunted, it's name is the Lackawaxen. A fairly long river and at times a big fast flowing river. The area I would normally fish was a power control river, they would generate and the flows would increase and then the river would return to normal flows. The river was stocked and I am pretty sure it also had some wild fish.

Along its banks was a fishing shop, fly shop and a place where you could get some very valuable info on what was going on. On one trip to the river I stopped in and talked to the gent in the shop. The river had been good to me as far as catching fish. I was armed with the necessary flies and pretty much thought that was all that was needed. At the time I was not tying my own flies so when he suggested I try these which he referred to as "emergers" to quote him "there the best producers here". So I purchased several of them and went about my way. Making a long story short they were indeed the finest fly production wise I ever bought. An example "make ten casts and you had three hits" usually leading to a fish. This ratio was not always the norm but it was close.

This is that fly, as I remembered it. It's tied on a slightly different hook, for I don't think these hook were available. I do remember it was a log shank hook though.

This last fly was tied on a standard dry fly hook just to show a difference from the longer shank hook.

I don't know if the shop is still in business, for the last time I was there was in 2011.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Moby Dick...the Classic

"Moby Dick" the Herman Melville classic that was required reading by my generation...there I go aging myself. But i was one of those non-conforming students who thought the movie was much more enjoyable. It was released around 1956 and starred Gregory Peck. It was a great movie and probably can be seen on Turner Classic Movies.

This is the other "Moby Dick"..the fly. It was created by Dave Goulet of Massachusetts and former owner of the Classic and Custom fly shop in New Hartford CT. The fly was originally intended to be a streamer, but I have seen it fished as a dry, and a wet fly. Ken Elmer a guide in MA. ties and fishes it has a wet fly, with considerable success. I favor it tied as a small streamer pretty much as the original. This fly is deadly and is the one fly to fish on CT's Salmon River where for some reason the trout just attack it.

Here's the recipe for this "not to often mentioned killer fly"

Hook, Mustad 38941 #10...Tail, golden pheasant tippets...Body, peacock herl...Hackle, brown...Wing, mallard flank.

The Italian egg cake. That's what my old boss and mentor called it back when I first enjoyed it in 1968. Simple and filling, it's basically eggs and anything else you have.

This one has mushrooms, onions, spinach and grated Romano cheese.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The "Outback" The Beauty And The........

The "Outback", not the famous one of "downunder" but the humbling one of Connecticut. I have written several posts about this wild and almost uninhabitable piece of real estate. The stream that runs through it is as pretty as can be, and as long as you stay in the water you will not be molested by all that lives along its banks.

The stream itself has some beautiful runs that sweep into deep undercut banks. Many of these places are home to strong wild brown trout. Yesterday I was put in my place by a host of these browns, and more or less told we will not give in.

I fished for 3 hours with a variety of flies. I observed rising fish, like the ones you see on a June evening. I had a brown of memorable size rise to a size 16 parachute Adams, this fish really put a bend in the little glass rod. I fought the brown, keeping him out of the wood in the stream, only to loose him at my foot. This was my day. At one point I was 0 for 7.

Well as I worked my way back to the Honda I fished many of the runs I fished going in. The trout were no longer rising but I knew they would still be looking up. Tied on the line was a over-hackled wet fly, and I put a bit of floatant on the tippet. The fly was was cast and pulled back against the current. A rise and a hookup. This time I was able to win out, and a handsome wild "Outback" brown was at hand. I know from experience that the "Outback" is just starting to wake up and that better day's are indeed ahead. But then again I just had a "better day"..........

Monday, March 6, 2017

"Hemlock Brook" Part Two

This is the second post on my visit to Hemlock Brook. This outing took place on the 27th of February during what was to be a taste of spring weather wise. I think the temp that day was near 70, very nice indeed. On this second visit I pushed further upstream and what I found was some of the most beautiful brook trout water in Connecticut. The stream was both placid and rough and tumble depending what point you were at. The valley was steep but it also afforded me the ability to get close to the water and able to cast a fly with some ease. The stream had some incredible bends and twists, you know those places that collect that lovely woody debris that brook trout love.

While most of the land and the stream are uninfluenced by humans, it does flow through mostly private land. While I try my best to gain permission to fish through there are times when I can't, mostly the land owners are not available. On this day I encountered a very concerned land owner who seemed quite upset that I was fishing his stream. After some conversation time I was able to successfully put his mind at ease and was given permission to fish. I thanked him very much and I hope he gave a heads up to his neighbors that I was about.

It was good that I was granted permission because the stream where he owns property was a very productive stretch.

Numerous wild brookies were crushing soft-hackles, both on the swing and just slack-dead drifted in slower waters.

It's almost unbelievable how close brookies can hold to a log that create plunges as this. Several times I lost flies in the tangle at the base, but often I would connect with a trout.

Brook trout can see remarkably well in those turbulent waters.

You recall me making mention of this feeder stream in the first post on Hemlock Brook. While I believe this stream gets very low in summer and what ever trout may live there now will migrate down to the larger Hemlock Brook. But what I did find hovering right around this feeder were.....

...brook trout that were colored like none other that I've ever caught. I hooked two brookies like this one, the other slipped the hook before I could photograph him. The wild brookie was intensely beautiful the sun just enhanced it even more. The only place I can document a brookie similar to this one is a water color painting of one by James Prosek in his book "Early Love And Brook Trout"

I will make an attempt to fish this area again, but that will have to wait until the second Saturday in April.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Purity And A New Stream

Clean cold highly oxygenated water is an absolute if we are to have a vibrant healthy wild brook trout fishery. The photo shows just what I mean. This stream located in Connecticut flows pure through wonderful hemlock and oak forest, along it's course it tumbles through a steep valley over some impressive boulders. It has been like this for decades and may it remain so for decades to come.

Kirk and I last Tuesday did some exploration. Four streams were chosen and we checked them all. We met at a stream we both are familiar with, choosing this for it was a good place for both of us, and we were than able to take just one vehicle. I walked up to the stream and cast a fly, one that had been tied on from my last outing. On the second cast I felt a jarring hit. The fish felt strong and he suddenly leaped and leaped again.

In a few moments I had an awesome wild one at hand. As I was removing the hook the brookie started to give up part of his morning breakfast. I was stunned at the amount of food that came out. Hundreds of small nymphs and larva. You can tell by the great condition of the fish that he knew how to find the food and that the streams health is such that it provides such nourishment.

On to the new streams. Of the four we checked this one was the most appealing. It is such a pretty stream and has those nooks and crannies that brook trout love. We did not catch a fish in this stream but come April I will give it a thorough checking out.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Some March Morning Thoughts

Here it is March second, "wow"...the month of spring is upon us. I was kicking around the idea of going fishing today until I looked outside. The sun is so bright and inviting but the 30 mph winds  are not. The weather guys are saying some of the wind gusts will reach to 50. Those winds will not help me cast a fly, not to mention all the widow makers falling from above. So I'm going to tie a few flies and then make a pot of clam chowder.

This is a fly I saw on Ralph Long's blog. Not tied exactly as he tied it but close.
Olive colored thread, fine copper rib, squirrel dubbed thorax and woodcock hackle.

This soft-hackle is olive thread body with a black rib, squirrel dubbed thorax, and woodcock under covert hackle.

This soft-hackle uses Pearsall's silk thread for the body, black squirrel for a thorax and woodcock hackle.

Here is a little sweetheart. Body, Pearsall's silk, hears mask dubbed thorax, and white hen back hackle. Drift off to a late evening in summer, the sulphurs hatching, and you are working this fly just under the surface...oh man hold on.

Now I believe I'll have some of this cast iron skillet corn bread. I'll grill it in butter, add a hot cup of Nantucket coffee and think about ...........